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    • Accepting and Using Climate Change
      A couple days ago I was thinking about the problem of surveillance states and I realized “this problem is likely to become less of one because of climate change.” And I started thinking about all the opportunities and good things climate change makes possible. My grieving was done. My pre-grieving, I suppose. I see grieving […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Will Cooler Heads Finally Prevail?

I think it’s about time we all start to dial it down. The whole Gates v. Crowley is threatening to get out of control because some unpalatable groups are coming out of the woodwork: Those who have a visceral knee-jerk revulsion as soon as anything is related to Obama, those who think Blacks whine too much and shouldn’t have anything to whine about since they “now have their President” (I can’t count how many comments mentioned Prof Gates’ tenure at Harvard over and and over), Blacks who do complain too much, and most egregiously, Rush Limbaugh and his ilk (people who genuinely hate Blacks for one reason or the other).

The fear black men (and some women) have against the police is real and is based on a long story of abuse including gruesome assassinations, something many people refuse to acknowledge. But still, we don’t want the police to shy away from all things black, God knows we need them.

Prof Gates may have wrongfully felt disrespected, profiled and became “belligerent”, wherefore Sgt Crowley responded with unnecessary force (Skip Gates posed no threat to him and trash talking is still not a crime). President Obama’s strongly worded remarks on the matter didn’t help either, especially because he came down clearly one side (and against the police officer) although the case is far from clear-cut. I think he realizes that now.
Black males’ fear of racial profiling very real, regardless of class

Several African American professionals find professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s recent encounter with police all too easy to relate to. Their lingering question is when to speak up.

I think This is a good move from the POTUS
Obama Invites Gates, Arresting Officer to the White House

Obama said that he had unwittingly fanned smoldering racial resentment with his response to a question at a news conference Wednesday night. The president said he conveyed that sentiment in a five-minute telephone call to Sgt. James Crowley, the police officer who arrested Gates after being called to the Harvard professor’s home to check out a suspected burglary.

“I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently,” Obama said.

Gates Says ‘Yes’ To Beer With Crowley

[T]he Harvard professor says he would meet with the cop who arrested him, as President Obama has suggested.

What is “disorderly conduct” anyway?
Gates’ Disorderly Conduct: The Police’s Judgment Call

“Disorderly conduct is a fluid concept,” says Tom Nolan, a criminal justice professor at Boston University who spent 27 years in uniform at the Boston Police Department. “Unlike a lot of other crimes, this really calls for the use of discretion in a way that armed robbery or more serious felony crime doesn’t. The less serious a crime, the more officer discretion you use,” he says, adding “discretion is judgment that we hope is based on wisdom, experience and training.”

Another ‘Racial Incident’: Debunking Talking Points about the Gates Arrest

[I]t wouldn’t hurt to get a little background on what local and national police procedure actually is under these kinds of circumstances. For instance, if a cop asks you to step outside, do you have to? (No.) Is it illegal to yell at the police? (No.) But it is appropriate for cops to investigate 911 calls. That’s what we pay them to do. We don’t escape racially charged situations by silence or ignorance. And we clearly don’t escape “the third rail of race,” as the press likes to call it, by sticking to our talking points no matter the circumstances.


Around The Nation

Jersey Mayors Stung in Graft Probe

Federal agents swept across New Jersey and New York on Thursday, charging 44 people — including mayors, rabbis and even one alleged trafficker in human kidneys — in a decadelong investigation into public corruption and international money laundering

New Jersey corruption investigations

[T]he mayors of the New Jersey cities of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield, a council president, two state assemblymen, numerous other public officials and political operatives, and five rabbis are not laughing. They are among 44 people charged in criminal complaints filed on Thursday July 23rd. The arrests were part of a ten-year federal investigation of both public corruption and an international money-laundering conspiracy. And, indeed, some organ selling.

Cornyn: Record my vote as a ‘no’

Texas senator willing to risk the loss of Latino votes in opposing Sotomayor confirmation

Lindsey Graham gives as good as he gets

When Sen. Lindsey Graham announced his support for Sonia Sotomayor this week, right-wing radio talk show host Mark Levin said it was a sign that Graham is “unreliable … as a thinker and a leader.”


Health-Care Nightmare “Waterloo” Reform

Liberal, conservative Dems feud over health bill

House Democrats feuded openly over health care Friday before shaking hands on a deal that guaranteed only that they would keep negotiating, wrapping up a week in which consensus on a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health-care system seemed to diminish by the day.

I think it was about time we heard from the most liberal wing of Congress. So far, only group the WH is trying to accomodate is the Conservative Dems.
Black Caucus blasts Blue Dogs

The 42-member caucus, whose support is crucial for the passage of any plan, is worried that intense talks going on between the Dogs, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and House leaders will undermine efforts to provide quality coverage to the poor and working class.

Barack Obama counts the cost of his ambition

Six months ago the new President’s momentum seemed unstoppable. Today he is struggling to sell his trillion-dollar plans to an increasingly sceptical electorate


War On Terror

Is there any doubt that this country was run for 8 years by a gang of thugs? When will John Yoo’s prosecution begin?
Bush mulled sending troops into Buffalo

Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.

U.S. admits it has no case against teen held at Guantanamo

The Justice Department conceded Friday that it lacks the evidence to hold a teenage Guantanamo detainee as an enemy combatant after a federal judge last week ruled that his confession was inadmissible.


Economy Watch

Leading Indicators Are Signaling the Recession’s End

THE American recession appears to be nearing an end, but only after it has become the deepest downturn in more than half a century.
The index of leading indicators, which signals turning points in the economy, is rising at a rate that has accurately indicated the end of every recession since the index began to be compiled in 1959.

‘Cash for Clunkers’ drives up car sales

Dealers, owners alike pleased with stimulus incentives.

Cashing In on the Stimulus

From cash for clunkers to first-time home-buyer plans to subsidized health-care benefits, here’s how to make the most of the government’s new programs.

Bank regulators resist Obama’s encroachment on their turf

Federal bank regulators sparred before Congress on Friday, trying to maintain their current powers as the Obama administration seeks to strip them of the authority to regulate consumer credit and give it to a new watchdog agency.


Opinion Columns & Editorials

Welcome to the ‘Club’ (By Charles Blow)

Whether one thinks race was a factor in this arrest may depend largely on the prism through which the conflicting accounts are viewed. For many black men, it’s through a prism stained by the fact that a negative, sometimes racially charged, encounter with a policeman is a far-too-common rite of passage.

Where the Jobs Are

With the latest increase, the minimum wage is still no higher now, after inflation, than it was in the early 1980s, and it is 17 percent lower than its peak in 1968. That means that no matter how hard they work, many low-wage workers keep falling behind. The latest increase will slow the decline in living standards, but it doesn’t reverse the overall downward pull.

Prof. Blinder does an excellent job in explaining what’s going on with the economy and what we should expect.
The Economy Has Hit Bottom (By Alan Blinder)

How’s the economy, you ask? I have the proverbial good news and bad news, but in this case, they’re exactly the same: The U.S. economy appears to be hitting bottom

The Ghosts of Clintoncare (By Ezra Klein)

Barack Obama’s strategy to pass health-care reform seems based on a simple principle: Whatever Bill Clinton did, do the opposite.

What the CIA hid from Congress (By Congresswoman Jane Harman)

Were members of congressional intelligence committees told everything about the Bush administration’s surveillance programs? Not even close


Around The World

In Global Institutions, Mediocrity Is the Way to the Top

Many international organizations suffer from the fact that they are run by uninspiring bureaucrats. In most cases, this is the fault of the heads of state and government who prefer to elevate weak figures, who won’t meddle too much, to these positions. Is that the best approach in these times of crisis?

Ousted Zelaya makes brief return

The ousted president of Honduras has briefly crossed the country’s border with Nicaragua, in a symbolic move the US has described as “reckless”.

Scandal dents Berlusconi’s popularity

As the private life of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s billionaire prime minister, continues to enthral Italy – L’Espresso magazine on Friday had seven pages on the “sleepless nights, erotic games, broken promises” of his alleged relationship with a call girl – the first signs may be emerging that his alleged sexual adventures are taking a toll on his popularity.

‘Silvio’s sex life: why Italians don’t care’

Europe has been transfixed by the saga of Silvio Berlusconi and the escort girl, but the Italian Prime Minister has been getting an easy time back home.

Shanghai sidesteps ‘one child’ rule

The city of Shanghai is taking the dramatic step of actively encouraging residents to exceed China’s famed “one child” limit, citing concerns about the ageing of its population and a potentially shrinking workforce.

Elections for Iraq’s Kurds


From The World Science

Not really surprising, is it?
Ants more rational than humans

In a study released online on July 22 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, researchers at Arizona State University and Princeton University show that ants can accomplish a task more rationally than our — multimodal, egg-headed, tool-using, bipedal, opposing-thumbed — selves.


Internet: The Greatest Thing Evah

True wife confessions: How women’s real-life stories became the new internet sensation

Shelly writes poignantly about the state of her marriage. Karen blogs shamelessly about her secret life as a serial mistress. Amy reveals all about her adulterous affairs …Suddenly there are any number of websites devoted to women’s real-life confessions. But who uses them, and why?

Please Digg!!! Share!!! Tweet!!!

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149 Responses

  1. Hope they enjoy their beers and this story goes away.

    • I’d like to see this discussion result in more awareness of the complex history of interactions between law enforcement and African Americans.

      I think the discussion we’ve had at TC has been productive and has generally been pretty rational and reasonable. I do think there are some people who have difficulty understanding why blacks often feel more fearful of police than whites. But those people aren’t going to gain understanding if public discussion of these issues is simply tamped down.

      I hope President Obama has learned something from this episode too. Next time something like this comes up, maybe he will be more diplomatic.

      • boston–If I thought this story would result in more awareness about racial profiling, I’d feel differently of course. I think it’s really just turned into a messy topic that doesn’t lend itself well to the oversimplified coverage that it’s getting in the media. And it’s created a lot of NOISE/distraction.

        (I don’t mean on this blog, I mean in general).

        I want the noise to go away is all.

        • Actually, I was referring only to the discussion on this blog and in the blogosphere generally. I don’t watch TV much, but I assume the discussion there is pretty useless.

        • And also, I’m sick and tired beer and pretzels.

          • Absolutely right, State. But Gates is “connected,” so he gets different treatment.

            And he knew that from the get-go.

            And yes, MrMike, it is the Black cop in the front of the picture with a stern look, facing the very crowd that Gates’s screaming was disturbing.

            Several people in that crowd have given witness statements supporting Sgt Lashley and Sgt Crowley’s versions of same.

            I suspect it’s a large part of why Gates backed off the threat of a lawsuit, and why Crowley felt reinforced by possibly filing one of his own.

      • I hope the cops release the tapes regardless of what is on them.

        • I hope they release the tapes too. I’m afraid that they won’t if they don’t corroborate the officer’s story. And I’m very sorry that the troubled history of the Cambridge Police has been largely ignored. That is the story I have been pushing all along–and it is backed up by research. I posted a link to a study on the thread last night.

          I don’t think this story was ever about racial profiling from the point of view of the police. The only racial profiling that went on in this case was from the woman who called the police. It turns out she works in a building two doors down from Gates’ house. She works for Harvard Magazine, which has featured Gates on it’s cover!

          The Gates case is complex, because he is an elite professor, and I think he reacted to police from that point of view as well–there was a class thing going on there. Nevertheless, I can understand why Gates reacted defensively. As a middle-aged black man, he has been dealing with racial profiling for his whole life. I think it is understanable if he overreacted.

          • SoD,

            I’m not giving Gates a pass, and I’m not suggesting that anyone else should.

            I think the overuse of police power is a lot more serious issue than whether one black man overreacted to being asked for his ID. That is the teachable moment I would like to see happen. I do not like the way our country is moving more and more in the direction of an authoritarian police state.

            Last night commenters were claiming that NYPD doesn’t have a problem with racial profiling and police brutality too. Here is a study of the NYPD:

            http://ccrjustice.org/learn-more/reports/backgrounder-racial-profiling-%2526amp%3B-police-brutality-new-york-city%2C-prepared-un-s

            Study of racial profiling in Illinois suppressed by local media

            http://www.ucimc.org/content/racial-profiling-study-suppressed-local-media

            This study of racial and gender profiling in MA found that the Cambridge PD was one of only a small number of departments in the state with significant problems on all four measures of racial profiling used.

            There are lots more studies, but I’ll be quiet about it now.

          • But why use an incident where a profiling charge is tenuous at best to further that cause?

          • I don’t accept the notion of Gates’ overreaction being understandable.

          • The discussion always sidesteps that elephant in the room.

          • “The only racial profiling that went on in this case was from the woman who called the police.”

            Is this fact, or your opinion?

          • That’s your interpretation, SOD (that people who “side” with Gates agree there was racial profiling). First, I don’t know if anyone ever used that word. Second, I don’t know why this is such a big issue since there’s a tiny minority who has any sympathy with Gates at all, kind of like all the anti Palin people getting so angry because she has maybe 1-3 actual supporters plus more defenders. Third, like a lot of us are influenced by our experiences with cops, some people seem to have been deeply influenced by being called rac ists. They’re entitled. They’re entitled to think that false accusations of racism are a huge problem that needs pushback. But please don’t assume that anyone who isn’t ready to indict Gates thinks he was racially profiled. That just isn’t the case. People are looking at this differently. I’m not assuming he was racially profiled, my biggest concern is whether he should have been arrested. We’re coming from different places and looking at it in different ways, but it doesn’t follow that not thinking that Gates is opportunist race baiting scum or whatever means anyone necessarily thinks he’s been racially profiled.

          • Maybe it’s because I’m not siding with anyone. The assumption from responses seems to be that if you’re not “siding” with Gates, you’re “siding” with Crowley.

            The problem is we have no business IMHO siding with either. There aren’t enough facts to support either statement and the only reason it made it to the news is because Gates’ is a well known figure.

          • It’s not about supporting anyone. It’s about understanding that there’s a serious underlying issue here.

            If you took the time to read even McWhorter’s piece on TNR (I think BB linked to it hereon TC), you’ll probably see why this is even beyond Gates v. Crowley: That is easy to dismiss.

          • No one is saying there isn’t a serious underlying issue. What some of us are trying to say is that we don’t have enough facts to support the assertion that this event is an example of the problem.

            We can agree to disagree. But I don’t deserve to be patronized for not being of the same mind.

          • Well, the thing is, there seem to be very few posters who are at all sympathetic to Gates, And many many more who are not very if at all. So maybe I’m biased, but it seems like the ratio of really harsh comments about Gates vs harsh comments about Crowley is 10 or 20 to one. We don’t know the facts, but Gates has taken a beating here, which, I mean, well and good, but I personally am not seeing a lot of you must support Gates or you’re bad, I’m seeing the opposite. I mean, I feel like I’ve seen posters Who are not totally anti-Gates kind of jumped on a bit, their views characterized as bull$&@@ and shameful and uninformed and dumb, so for me personally, I’m not seeing this big Gates push, but that’s just me. I don’t know if you’re talking to me there, but if you felt patronized by me, I’m really sorry. I know I can be very snarky and don’t always consider if my words are coming off harshly. You guys are all smarter than me, I’m just an ignorant mouthy kid who’s got no business patronizing anybody and it’s
            not my intention at all. I think we all have strong feelings and the high emotions are causing some heat in the discussion.

          • Seriously — no, not you. Not at all! 🙂

        • Even without the tapes, State, the Black officer who was present (Sgt Leon Lashley) has now publicly said Gates was out of control from the beginning, and Lashly supported 100% , Crowley’s choice to arrest him. Lashly said race had nothing to do with it, and he would have done the same thing as Crowley.

          I think that speaks volumes, about how the racial profiling angle was completely overblown.

          I, too, hope the tapes are released, so the “teachable moment” can be truly productive about jumping to conclusions.

          • The black officer did not say that. He said he thought Gates was acting strangely when he came outside the house. Only Gates and Crowley were inside the house. It is to be expected that Crowley’s colleagues would support him 100%.

            I think it is telling that you believe the skin color of the police officer defending Crowley is relevant.

          • Is that the black officer in the foreground of the photo? Notice his facial expression, he is glaring at the crowd to keep them back and under control.

          • By Gates own account, when he arrived there he was the only cop on the scene. So how could a second officer verify that Gates was out of control from the beginning when he wasn’t there at the beginning.

            In my opinion supportive statements by fellow officers have little value beccause we’re all familiar with the “blue wall of silence” . We all understand that these people still have to work together tomorrow and have each others back. so even the statements by minority cops should be taken in that context

          • Just thought maybe the actual tape of the interview with Lashley might be useful. He does seem to imply the situation with Gates was getting out of control once he came outside..Also he confirms officer Figueroa was also in the house with Crowley. He also said he believed the outcome would have been different if he had arrieved first. He also mentioned something I hadn’t heard before, at one point Lashley sent in a couple of more officers in to see what was going on.

            http://www.wikio.com/comments/?infoid=118335421

  2. It looks like Dr. Conrad Murray is going down.

    Law enforcement sources tell us Dr. Conrad Murray kept a stash of drugs — including the powerful anesthesia Propofol — hidden in his closet at Michael Jackson’s home.

    Sources say when the LAPD first searched Jackson’s home the night he died, they did not turn up Propofol or many of the other drugs that were in Jackson’s house.

    Dr. Murray talked to the LAPD the following Saturday and the information he supplied triggered another, broader search warrant. Cops returned to the house the following Monday and discovered “various drugs” secretly stashed in a closet in the guest room where Dr. Murray was staying.

    • It was clear someone was going down. There were too many people coming out immediately after his death screaming “not me!” even though no allegations had been made.

    • B.B: Like you I lived in Boston and my opinion of this matter is colored by that experience. I went to Boston University from 1973-77. That was in the days of court ordered busing and there was a lot of racial tension in the city. We (the black students) were told (by other black students) it wasn’t safe to be black and in Kenmore Square when there was a game at the Garden. We were advised to stay out of certain parts of the city like South Boston; and keep to the safer parts like Back Bay and Brookline. We were also advised to avoid encounters with the Boston police.

      One year earlier my sister had entered Harvard University. This was just after the merger of Radcliffe and Harvard. That was the first year that women would be allowed to live in the Harvard Yard. That was where she lived. As a black and a female she was made to feel very unwelcome. She can also recount personal negative experiences with the Cambridge police.

      This past experience doesn’t just go away because thirty years later things are better in America and we have a black president. I want white America to understand that many of us Black people walk around literally thinking its only a matter of time before a Gates-like event happens to us and there but for the grace of God go I.

      • Yes but if we allow unjustified claims without pushback under the umbrella of the “understandable” the only thing we will promote is the fostering of resentment.

        • No one ever moves forward by looking back. It’s not about what *has* happened; it’s about how we avoid it in the future.

          • easy for you to say. that puts the onus on the person who feels wronged to just eat and go forward without feeling that his views were ever legitimated or even acknowledged.

          • yeah, but once you’ve had one of these nightmare scenarios, and you’ve been completely traumatized by it, it’s really difficult to just get over it and move on

            Cop cars and uniforms completely startle me now and my heart beat goes up like crazy!

          • Many of us have had traumatic experiences that we’ve had to move on from. and you do not know me or what I’ve lived through, so no, it’s not “easy for me to say.” That approach is a cop-out that allows unjustified accusations to pass without being called for what they are simply to be PC.

        • It’s certainly not rational to attack Crowley with some vague “Cambridge cops have a record of racial profiling,” if multiple witnesses —not all of them fellow cops—-have said racism had nothing to do with Gates’s arrest.

          And no, those Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters weren’t “bitter, clingy racists,” even if Obama tried to claim they were for his own political gain in California.

          Let’s have a discussion about the “teachable moment” when Bill and Hillary were called racists so Obama could win S.Carolina.

          Selective choosing of “teachable moments” is hypocritical and manipulative.

          • I said I would be quiet, but I need to respond to this. I have never once attacked Sgt. Crowley. That’s the last word I’ll say on this, but I admit I’m very tired of people misinterpreting my words and trying to read my mind.

        • SoD, many of the posts you write are some of my favorite reads on The Confluence, but this really bothers me. Just because Obama callously used race-baiting to get elected doesn’t mean that accusations of racism suddenly have the burden of proof.

          They do in his case and in his cronies’ case because they abused it.

          But racism is — it’s just a horrible fact — a huge problem in our society. When an accusation of racism is made, we all have the obligation to give it thought and judge it on its own merits.

          The merits in this case are that someone who walks with a cane, is well-dressed, and lives in a good part of town, is arrested for being loud to a cop inside what he at that point knows is his own home.

          You can find hundreds of examples of well-to-do blacks getting harsh or bigoted treatment for every one example of a white in that situation. That is the essence of racism. It doesn’t matter what you’ve achieved. You’re still “black.” This sort of thing doesn’t happen to whites on anything remotely approaching a regular basis. So in this case the merits say it was indeed racist. About as clearcut an example as you could find.

          The fact that Gates is well-to-do and elite is still no reason to subject him to police abuse. Not whether he’s black or white.

          False accusations of racism are bad, but they’re not nearly as bad as racism itself. The discomfort of whites in this is not nearly as important as the experience of blacks.

          Maybe that’s easier to see in a parallel situation: false accusations of rape are bad, but they’re not nearly as bad as the rapists. Men who aren’t perverts should be more concerned about the woman’s experience than making sure everyone is clear on their innocence.

      • I am very aware that I am a beneficiary of racial profiling. My pasty white, female, face-of-a-certain-age is an E-Z pass at borders and any other place where I might encounter “authorities”. Of course, those same authority figures might feel free to patronize me, and would do so at their own peril.
        What I would like to know in this particular instance: did the Cambridge police department implement the profiling awareness program because they recognized the flawed thinking/unfairness/disparity in assuming an aging female white face is always “innocent”, and a young male black face is always suspect?… or was it merely cover-your-@ss training?
        I would think those of you in the Boston area might have a handle on answering those questions.
        Meanwhile, I find it totally inappropriate that the President is commenting, off-the-cuff, about a local incident. I think automatic labelling of either party distracts from the opportunity for
        a healthy self-questioning of bias on the part of each one of us.

      • my father’s in the Army, and he has so many horror stories about black soldiers and officers being harassed and bothered and attacked around town during busing, even planning out special schedules sometimes, like okay, you need to go here, but it can’t be now, it has to be earlier, or later, or….And that’s the freakin’ US Army! Can’t even imagine how it must have been for civilians.

  3. Interesting piece about Gates by Stanley Fish

    As the story unfolded in the press and on the Internet, I flashed back 20 years or so to the time when Gates arrived in Durham, N.C., to take up the position I had offered him in my capacity as chairman of the English department of Duke University. One of the first things Gates did was buy the grandest house in town (owned previously by a movie director) and renovate it. During the renovation workers would often take Gates for a servant and ask to be pointed to the house’s owner. The drivers of delivery trucks made the same mistake.

    The message was unmistakable: What was a black man doing living in a place like this?

    At the university (which in a past not distant at all did not admit African-Americans ), Gates’s reception was in some ways no different. Doubts were expressed in letters written by senior professors about his scholarly credentials, which were vastly superior to those of his detractors. (He was already a recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, the so called “genius award.”) There were wild speculations (again in print) about his salary, which in fact was quite respectable but not inordinate; when a list of the highest-paid members of the Duke faculty was published, he was nowhere on it.

    • Sounds like the gossip and back biting at goes on in any little closed society. Hence the term ivory tower, it keeps the occupants in as well as the rif-raff out.

    • Gates’s reception was in some ways no different. Doubts were expressed in letters written by senior professors about his scholarly credentials, which were vastly superior to those of his detractors.

      That sounds a little bit like the story of Glenn Loury. He was a classmate of Krugman at MIT and graduated with his PhD in economics a year before Krugman did.
      He taught at Harvard (where he became the first black tenured prof of economics @ age 35) for sometime. He was treated so horribly by some other members of the faculty and students that he used to get nose bleeding. He later moved to BU and teaches now at Brown.

  4. These types of underserved attacks hurt the dream as spelled out by Martin Luther King.

    There…I said it.

    • That why I said it’s time for cooler heads to prevail. This here should not get more heated than it already is.

      • In 1992, he received a George Polk Award for his social commentary in The New York Times. Gates’ prominence in this field led to him being tapped as a witness on behalf of the controversial Florida rap group 2 Live Crew in their obscenity case. He argued the material the government alleged was profane, actually had important roots in African-American vernacular, games, and literary traditions and should be protected.
        http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Henry_Louis_Gates,_Jr.#Career

        Black History Month
        Activities Biographies Key Titles Links Literature Quiz Timeline
        Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

        Sept. 16, 1950-
        Keyser, West Virginia, United States
        Nationality: American
        Occupation: scholar, college teacher, critic, writer, chairperson

        Defended 2 Live Crew

        Gates called on this tradition of language as a game in helping to defend the rap group 2 Live Crew against obscenity charges in Florida in 1990. He wrote in The New York Times that 2 Live Crew’s “exuberant use of hyperbole (phantasmagoric sexual organs, for example) undermines — for anyone fluent in black cultural codes — a too literal-minded hearing of the lyrics. This is the street tradition called ‘signifying’ or ‘playing the dozens,’ which has generally been risque.” Gates further tied the group’s approach to the black mythic tradition, explaining to a reporter from Jet that in 2 Live Crew’s music “what you hear is great humor, great joy, and great boisterousness. It’s a joke. It’s a parody and parody is one of the most venerated forms of art.”

        I must say I was pretty upset to find that he defended 2 Live Crew, a rap group who’s obscene lyrics and performance were based on objectifying women and debasing them.

        I am now not surprised when his attorney admitted that he used some ‘Strong’ language during the incident, given his defense of this group. As a woman I am very surprised that he as an academic would have take this position, but given the rap music used during the primaries and the rap song made to attack Hillary and McCain I now see it is something embraced, even by an academic.

        As a woman I was offended to hear that some language was directed towards ‘A white woman’ (the caller…using gender and race) and some other language directed at Sgt. Crawley’s mother. In my humble opinion the Professor needs to CALM down and do some self examination and stop saying the officer needs to ‘beg’ him to accept an apology.

        I think Professor Gates should have stuck to the agreement, but now, as a woman I want to hear what he said (the recordings), because I want to know why he chose to use women in words during the incident.

        • How is this defense of misogyny (It’s rooted in our African traditions) any different than some Muslim states defense of misogyny (it’s rooted in our culture and traditions)?

          I don’t give a shit what culture it’s rooted in, misogyny and violence against women, and glorifying that violence, whether “phantasmagorical” or not, is wrong.

          I don’t mind defending 2LiveCrew on the basis of free speech. People have a right to say “wrong” things. But let’s not call this “joyful and boisterous”:

          To have her walking funny so we try to abuse it.
          Bitches think a pussy can do it all,
          So we try real hard just to bust the wall.

          And:
          I’ll break you down and dick you long.
          Bust your pussy and break your backbone.

          And:
          I’m gonna slay you, rough and painful,
          You innocent bitch! Don’t be shameful!

          • The Gates Case: When Disorderly Conduct is a Cop’s Judgment Call

            Perhaps not surprisingly, a good chunk of disorderly conduct charges end up being dropped, as happened in the case against Gates, who was arrested on his porch July 16 after yelling at the officer who responded to a report of a possible break-in at the Harvard scholar’s home in Cambridge, Mass. Gates, who is black, accused Sgt. James Crowley, who is white, of being a racist and also cast aspersions about the cop’s “mama”. “Mr. Gates was given plenty of opportunities to stop what he was doing. He didn’t. He acted very irrational. He controlled the outcome of that event,” Crowley told WBZ Radio in Boston on Thursday.
            http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1912777,00.html

            The epithets made against Crowley’s mother are now being called aspersions, but it would appear that CNN is now trying to be a little fair and not sensationalizing the incident and are starting to see that all the facts are not in. The story still had a tilt towards Gates, but their effort is noted.

            So, now it will be a FREE SPEECH issue…?!? 😯 I say release the tapes, and lets air out the dirty laundry and be done with with and then move on…OH, YEA, TO HEALTH CARE REFORM!

    • That One flamed the fire and he still cannot realize what he did. To say, “I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently,” Obama said.

      He did exactly what he accused the officer of doing and until he realizes the “teachable moment” was for him this situation won’t be resolved.

    • Sgt. Crowley has those years of wisdom and experience, he made it to sergeant and teaches a racial profiling class. He used his experience and decided the best way to handle the situation was to arrest Gates.
      I’m not about to second guess his actions.
      Gates was out of control for what ever reasons. There are three levels, upset, angry and foaming at the mouth. It’s that last one what gets people maimed or killed. Gates looked like he was talking himself into that third stage.
      I know I wouldn’t have turned by back on him because he might have done something that he would later regret.
      Like it or not, we grant the police a certain amount of authority over our lives for the public good. If they abuse that authority there are means of dealing with it.
      But one thing that cannot be allowed is a perceived erosion of that authority by a belligerent individual.
      Put ti this way, the cops are a force of nature, you don’t stand exposed on a hill during an electrical storm and you don’t go off on the cops answering a B&E call and expect to come away unscathed.

    • Bravo and well siad. Playing the race card hysterically in moments when it is inappropriate , for personal or political reasons, diminishes the need to be concerned when it really happens.

      Frankly, I’m beginning to believe Professor Gates profiled the white cop.

      There…..I said it.

    • I agree–the president’s invite is no more than stagecraft.

      I understand the “history”; however, one would think that a person like Prof. Gates would have handled this differently. It makes me wonder the “slant” AA studies take at Harvard.

      Yes, I hope, too, we can move on, but I hope some begin to realize that this president has revealed who he is on many occasions, and it’s not who they think.

      • Obama is only inviting Crowley and Gates for beer because his race-baiting finally backfired. If Obama had it his way, he’d still be calling Crowley stupid and comparing this to racial profiling with another race speech that would send tingles up Chris Matthews’ legs. He just knows that this time the law enforcement (including black officers) and witnesses to Gates’ arrest are not on his side – and they might have more proof with the release of the 911 tapes.

      • It also might be a way of helping out his friend Gates now that Crowley is angry enough to sue him for defamation. Accepting an invitation to the White House is a way for Obama and Gates to cool down Crowley and convince him that a lawsuit isn’t worth it.

  5. Texas senator willing to risk the loss of Latino votes in opposing Sotomayor confirmation

    Loss of? Cornyn doesn’t have the Latino vote to begin with.

    • lol

    • lol! well that explains his willingness to lose it

    • A couple dozen maybe–all MBA’s whose mothers christened them Jorge and now call themselves “George.”

      • Aha, so they have problems with their Wise Latina mothers…Cornyn might keep those dozen votes after all.

      • Believe it or not, everyone in TX (or elsewhere) who votes for a republican is not a racist, or self-hating, or an elitist, or anything else they might be labeled. They are just people, with opinions.

        And I say that as someone who doesn’t like Cornyn one bit, and donated heavily to his opponent Noriega.

        • I don’t think that, and I don’t think anyone here is saying that about “everyone who votes Republlican.” We’re talking about Cornyn specifically. I don’t think voting for him makes his voters self-hating, racist, or whatever, either. I just don’t think his 36% of the Latino vote reflects a real well of support that he is risking losing here.

          Noriega got insufficient help from the DNC to go against Cornyn’s big money and he ran a weak and generic Obamaesque campaign instead of running as himself. At least that was my impression of it as a voter in TX. Noriega lost TX by practically the exact same margin as Obama. I don’t think what Cornyn got really reflects anything much more than him having something like 10 times as much money to blow on ads.

        • I was referring to the comment that any Latinos who voted for Cornyn must have been MBA’s who were ashamed of their hispanic names. The implication was pretty clear.

          I can’t stand Cornyn, but I will and do object to demeaning and making assumptions about those Latinos who voted for him. Just as I objected to the characterization of blacks who didn’t vote for Obama as “race-traitors”.

          • I had read the comment in terms of Cornyn’s white male elitist shtick (i.e. as a characterization of his, imho, shitty outreach to voters, not the other way around.)

            Re-reading it I see the implication now, so point taken.

          • We’re cool, Wonk. 🙂 I just don’t think the way to prevail against assholes like Cornyn is to woo his voters by telling them they are bitter/racist/self-hating/selfish/stupid. Plus it’s just wrong.

            One of the things I always loved about both Bill and Hillary was that they never insulted the voters. Ever. They’d go after the politicians guns blazing, but they maintained respect for the voters, the People themselves.

        • Believe it or not, I live in South Texas, despise Senator Man-on-Box Turtle, supported Noriega and Martinez before him, and personally know a number of those “Georges” and “Richards” (born Ricardo) and and “Pauls” (born Apolonio) who have MBA’s, belong to the Republican Party, and are scrabbling to assimilate to Anglo culture and the Republican “I’ve-got-mine-screw-the-rest-of-you” mentality.

          • I’m in San Antonio, which is majority Hispanic, and have several friends and co-workers who are both Republican and very very proud indeed of their ethnic heritage.

          • My point being that people are not homogenous, and saying that “all” Latinos who voted for Cornyn must fit that profile is just bunk.

    • Yes, he does. Cornyn got 36% of the Latino vote in 2008 running against Democrat Rick Noriega, who is himself Latino, and a well-respected Army veteran (big deal in TX). That’s a pretty good chunk of Latino votes for someone actually running against a Latino opponent. When Cornyn ran against non-Latinos in the past, he got an even bigger share.

      Cornyn does indeed have a lot to lose here.

      • I wonder if Noriega will run against him again? That’d be sweet! Rick is a good guy, and his wife is fabulous. 🙂

      • I suspect that Cornyn got some spillover from Hispanics voting for McCain. There was a lot of resentment in my area of the behavior of the Obama delegates at some of the local and county conventions– eg., at my county convention, the 17 Obama delegates first tried to challenge the vote, which gave all our delegates to state to Hillary, then walked out because the convention wouldn’t “At least give us an alternate!” Notice that “give.” Not the way the process works.

        Some of that resentment was still pretty warm when the general rolled around. Hispanic friends have quietly confided that they voted Republican in protest for the first time in their lives last year, some of them straight ticket to punish the Dem party. Some of them didn’t vote for the top of the ticket at all or were so disgusted they stayed home.

        But the thing that’s going to kill Cornyn with the Hispanic vote–even the MBA bankers– is his support of the border wall. The only thing that’s kept the border area from slumping as badly as the rest of the economy is international trade–and the wall would irreparably damage it.

  6. mablue, I think your line up illustrates the problem with the Gates story. It dominates the headlines and one wonders why we are devoting so much time and energy to such a small story of misunderstandings. Maybe it’s because Obama deliberately called attention to it in his press conference. It seems to me to be a HUGE distraction. Yes, AAs have a perfectly reasonable distrust of police officers. But AAs are not the only people in the country that have suffered injustice in our society. One might argue (and I don’t really want to right now) that women have as much or more reason to complain about the lack of respect they get from all segments of society. However, the reaction of the AA community has become rather predictable. I’m not saying it’s wrong, rather that the media has discovered that they can rely on it to blow up and if they nurse it along, they can make it a distraction that blots out any other more important story. In this opinion, I am not alone. Check out Peter Daou’s post on the same subject.
    The stories that deserved our attention today were the ones on health care, NJs corruption and how that will affect the governor’s race, etc. Instead, we are talking about a story that we can’t stop talking about because every time we *should* let it go, someone pokes it with their finger like worrying a sty in the eye. It’s painful but it’s a fun pain.
    Let’s not go there anymore. If we want the Gates story to go away and reveal the stories that should get our attention, then we have to be the first people to banish it from out current consciousness. The Confluence has always tried to buck consensus reality, not give in to it. Let’s lead by example.

    • Could Corzine be implicated in the latest NJ corruption?

      • Who knows? Someone in his administration had to resign over this issue. But NJ’s political landscape does have some interesting features. There is a political machine, said to be based somewhere in the northern part of the state. Get in good with them and it’s smooth sailing.
        Early in the primary season, before supertuesday, the head of the state Democratic party paid our site a visit. HE was a superdelegate for Clinton but during the presentation he gave some very revealing clues that if I had only understood them at the time might have told us which way the wind was blowing in NJ.
        He suggested *pre* Supertuesday that the convention would be brokered. Now, why would he have thought that? We had no idea how close the delegate count would be at that time. And it turns out that Hillary killed Obama in NJ by 10 points but this party chairman suggested that although he was a superdelegate for Hillary, that was changeable. I don’t know if that meant his support was contingent on the result of supertuesday or some other factor. As it turns out, he flipped to Obama at the convention. His presentation didn’t indicate his preference. he presented the positions of both candidates fairly nd without bias, although I think his main concern was healthcare and that is why he was pledged to Hillary.
        Anyway, long story short, Corzine came to office promising to reform the property tax system. About a year into his term, he threw up his hands and said, let the assembly work it out. I suspect it is the wealthy counties in the north, right outside NYC as well as the developers who like the property tax system as it is. It puts a lot of the burden on homeowners, not high income earners and big box stores. Then consider the fact that the delegates to the convention had to get some kind of quid for their pro quo. Um, yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me if Corzine were eventually implicated. He might not see it as a problem. It’s just the way the NJ political machinery works. The voters might see it quite differently, like, where does it end and out votes and sentiments actually have meaning?
        We may find out this year.

      • One could hope.

    • Yes, isn’t it just so convenient?

      • Sort of like the Cheney Energy Committee list. Remember how the WH got the Supreme Court to deny us access to the list of energy companies that met with Cheney during the rolling backouts of CA and just prior to the Iraq War Invasion?
        Hmmmm…..

        • Oh, and speaking of those rolling black-outs ala Enron, I am firmly in the “Kenny Boy Lay” is still alive camp. I don’t wear this tinfoil for nothing

          • lol

            I had a client staying on Mykonos in late May who swore up and down she saw him board a yacht.

            I believed her. 🙂

      • I’m in a foul mood this morning and contemplating the sorry state of the masses in how they are easily distracted by shiny things while the looters continue their quest to complete the greatest mass transfer of wealth in our nation’s history.

        As someone who gets choked up when I read about the Revolution and cried like a baby at the National Archives as I stood before the Constitution, I am more and more disheartened that our great experiment is blowing up before our eyes.

      • We don’t even know if CREW got the injunction to prevent further private meeting (Secret Guests at the White House and at VP Joe Biden’s house) ? The press should be trying to ask President Obama and VP Joe Biden if they are still willing to say they are committed to TRANSPARENCY?!?

        • Well, they’ve been going to Biden’s home too. Whatcha wanna bet they will start releasing the white house visitors logs as a show of transparency, and shift all the meetings to Biden’s house.

    • one wonders why we are devoting so much time and energy to such a small story of misunderstandings

      The racism is only one aspect of it. Another aspect is the abuse of police power to which we’ve become so accustomed that it’s a non-issue.

      I think it’s very bad, mega- mega- mega-bad that it doesn’t even worry us any more. Because abuse of power is what it is. The cop saw Gates as rude and arrested him for it, even though the cop has to know that rudeness is not a crime. (Sometimes I think, unfortunately.) He arrested him because he could. That is NOT the way things are supposed to work in a society of laws.

      Sadly, even as the media bawl on about Gates, the sty part is the focus, you’re right about that. The bigger problem is that it’s not really a sty. It’s a symptom of cancer.

  7. I think AA elites like Gates, who have ” made it” , often have an idealized view of how white men are treated by the police. I believe folks like Gates think if it wasn’t about race, he would be able to yell at a police officer all he wanted without the yes sirs ending ….like the white people. But if a white person keeps yelling at the police , you bet the likelyhood they too will get arrested is high. I don’t know if Gates believes that. If he just stopped yelling, I wonder if we would even be discussing this .

    • opps! didn’t see your time out post RD!

    • Yes. I’ve lived in some very poor, crappy, meth-laden “white trash” neighborhoods, and believe me, they get no deference whatsoever from cops.

      Forget handcuffs and led away quietly like Gates was – a shirtless guy on welfare who went off on a cop like that on the porch of his sagging trailer would be lucky not to be body slammed to the ground with a knee in his back while being cuffed. And him hollering the whole while about “Police brutality!” would not make the news.

      I am NOT saying that blacks don’t have a long history of having more problems with cops. But I am saying that this idea that cops by and large will ALWAYS treat a white man better is bunk. The disparity may have more to do with the percentage of poverty-stricken whites vs. the percentage of poverty-stricken blacks than with race itself. There are a higher percentage of blacks living in poverty.

      I think class is at least a big a factor as race in how one gets treated by cops.

      • Sorry, RD, I didn’t see you time out either.

        But it has gotten me thinking again how so much hinges on poverty, and JOBS. Amazing the ills that can get cured or mitigated if you have a strong economy and plentiful decent jobs

        • Yes, I wish we all talked more about poverty and class discrimination as you have done.

          The powers in America (and Canada is no better) always push poverty and class discrimination away from the public conversation. Poor people are treated as trash, who deserve what they have got.

          Note that discussion about poverty and opportunity, etc has a big impact on health care debate. It may actually may help people see the light.

          That was one reason I liked Hillary. She understood the huge impact of environment on children, and the importance of opportunities for children. She undertood and tried to explain how all liberal themes are realted in this way.

          • Good post! Indeed, for years the Clintons have stood almost alone on the national level for even noticing the poor and their whole concept of goverment working to HELP the poor make gains, is totally at odds with most others at their level….I think it’s why they are so hated by the upper crust .

            The upper crust want an under class , which they don’t even have to ever think about and those damn Clintons keep trying to bring the riff raff to the table!

  8. Blatent media control in Italy. I would love to hear from someone over there to see how much coverage they’re getting on the Berlusconi scandal:

    Berlusconi – as well as being the head of the government and the biggest party in the country – controls the entire universe of Italian television. He owns three private television channels and the three public stations over which the party in power has always exerted control.

    Just consider the fact that 73 per cent of Italians made up their minds about who to vote for in the last elections through the television, and you have a concrete idea of what conflict of interest means.

    • Gee, sounds like the media here.
      Given the events of the past eight years, I had a strange thought last night. I was thinking of the events that led to the attacks on 9-11-01 because the tinfoil hat brigade is making noise about some sort of nano-thermite something or another found at the WTC site in NYC on a local newspaper board.
      It occurred to me that those victims were dead the moment in time “journalists” at the major print and broadcast outlets started smearing Al Gore with their lies and distortions.

    • Very little on television, more in print media. (depends if they’re left or right)

      TV seems to be talking a lot about the weather and the big fires in Sardinia. There was also something about Omaha hail storms.
      Four Italian military wounded in Afghanistan-the sad state of Italian universities -the swimming championships in Rome-oh and they’re trying to do something to fix the economy.

  9. I agree that this topic has been beaten to death, I would just like to make one little comment about this…

    “Obama said that he had unwittingly fanned smoldering racial resentment…”

    What about when he wittingly fanned smoldering racial resentment during the campaign?

    • lol!

    • Oh, that wasn’t fanning the flames of racial resentment, that was just professorial Obama explaining to us how the world works, like that one time when he taught us about the price of arugula and how it’s bitter and clings to salad dressing out of economic hardship.

      • {{Snort!!}} That would be the comment of the day but it’s still early.

      • I have been thinking, and I am going to the store this weekend and buy some of this arugula. I keep hearing about it and well, if it is very pricey I will get a little bit, but I want to see what all the fuzz is about. Say, it isn’t fish eggs, or some other thing like that? On second thought maybe I will buy me a cookie (indulge).

        • It’s similar to water cress, but easier to grow.

          I used to grow it a lot. It doesn’t need hot weather, being a member of the cabbage family (but is a fine leaved salad).

  10. Without fanning the racial resentment, that billion dollars from pharma might not have been enough to install him in the White House.
    And irony overload as NY Times thinks Teh One is overexposed
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/07/25/obamas-paper-enough-already/

    • As a member of Big Satan, I’d just like to say that the industry is hurting and as far as I know, didn’t have a preference in the primaries.
      But let’s put the perception that pharma is buying influence aside for the moment (I’m not saying it isn’t true. I don’t know how much we spend on lobbying. But lobbying money is like any other candy. No one says the politician has to eat it.)
      What is the real problem with Big Pharma? Is it cost? Is it safety? Both?
      Just curious. Because the truth about Big Pharma is a lot more complex than people want it to be. It’s really easy to be angry with Big Pharma but if that anger is applied indiscriminately, the problem with Big Pharma may actually worsen.
      I have issues with people who do not understand how the industry works and what may be contributing to the high cost of drugs because in *some* cases, the cause is consumers, cutting their own throats. There is just as much framing and propaganda against Big Pharma for fun and profit. Can you think of why it is convenient to demonize Big Pharma?
      Think about it.

      • I’m going to soapbox a little, here.

        There are some abuses by Big Pharma. But I can tell you for a fact that most of their actual employees etc are good people, even the dreaded “pharmaceutical reps” and sales people.

        I can’t tell you the number of times our drug reps bent over backwards to try to get us free medicines for a patient who needed them. I’d call the Merck rep, or Pfizer, or whoever, and they’d move heaven and earth trying to scrape up six months worth of samples and get them to our office same day.

        And the constant ads to join class-action lawsuits for every ill effect of every new drug introduced is going to KILL the advent of helpful drugs IMO. The few cases of actual negligence being addressed have ballooned into a thriving industry in claiming evil intent by evil Big Pharma anytime outcomes are mixed.

        There is NO SUCH THING as a 100% safe medication. It doesn’t exist. And if that’s what people are demanding (and it seems they are) we may as well head on back to the medical dark ages. Be careful what you wish for.

        • You’re getting close.
          There are definitely some problems in Big Satan that are spill over from the finance industry. And I’m not going to claim that the industry is innocent and perfect. Marketing and advertising has extended its tentacles into Big Pharma to an unhealthy degree.
          BUT there really is a crisis right now with Big Pharma that may result in the death of research in the US.
          I’m going to write some posts on it, one of these days in my copious free time.

          • I hope you do. Maybe it’s a function of age, and my being a nurse, but I can remember what the crappy drug treatment options were for patients 15, 20, 30 years ago, in many areas.

            And I think many people don’t think about or don’t realize what a huge benefit our R&D industry for drugs here in the US has brought us, and the world. They don’t understand what few options they used to have. Yes, regulate and crack down on abuses. But damn, don’t go into a feeding frenzy and cripple drug research!

      • well, even though I luv ya RD, I’m still not getting my flu shot (or that swine flu shot). 😦

        I’m now of the belief that armageddon is just around the corner and I’d rather die from swine flu than live through what the oligarchs have in store for us.

        • Don’t get the flu shot for yourself. Get it for other people who plan to plow through Armageddon and don’t need to get infected.
          BTW, there’s a good possibility that you won’t be offered one anyway. But if you do, take the damn shot.

  11. I feel somewhat sorry for Gates, I think he was very tired after travelling and the difficulty getting in his house. But … he was at fault in this. Crowley didn’t know if Gates arrived after the break-in, if there were still robbers in the house, or if Gates aggitated state was because of someone holding a family member hostage. The house was still a scene of a crime investigation and Gates interferred with a cop trying to do his job and get home safely to his family at the end of his shift.

  12. Mary has it right in all her comments. Gates should have just complied with the officer’s request, thank him for responding so quick to the break in report.

  13. Here’s a “teachable moment” for all those with Harvard degrees

    “never refuse an opportunity to keep your mouth shut”

  14. Twenty-five years ago, when I was living in Cambridge, I was attacked by a knife-wielding man who had broken into my apartment before I got home. I managed to barricade myself in the bedroom; my screams alerted the neighbors, who came in to rescue me until police arrived. The attacker got away. Later, at the police station, I was asked to go through mug books to try to identify the assailant. After a few pages, I looked up. ‘Are all of the people in this book white?’ Yes. ‘Well, the guy who attacked me is black.’

  15. Time to let Crowley and Gates in peace to chug back their cold one.

    New post up.

  16. Sorry, I haven’t read the comments and yet and am just sounding off first. This whole Crowley thing flabbergasts me. It’s so goddamn simple. 1) Woman calls in problem, trying to help a neighbor. Fine. 2) Cops respond, doing their jobs. Fine. 3) Gates, tired and impatient, but able to understand the situation, shows his ID. Fine.

    4) Cop not satisfied. Gates more tired and impatient for obvious reasons. Cop feels insufficient deference, arrests someone who is no threat to anyone for being in what he knows, at this point, is his own home. NOT FINE. Abuse of power. Unprofessional.

    Yes, that abuse of power is even worse if he reserves just for blacks. And, no, proof that it’s racist isn’t Crowley standing up and saying, “I hate blacks. So bite me.”

    Racism, like sexism, is institutional. If you don’t suffer from it, you can only see it in the aggregate, in the statistics. There are always excuses for any one case. But put all those cases together and you see that the whole mass is the size of Mt. Everest, and that the main reason you didn’t notice is that you’re standing on it with your back to it.

    • That’s pretty much how I see it. I’m glad I’m not alone. It makes me sad to see so much defensiveness just at the idea that Gates should not have been arrested. And for those of us in the Boston area, the history of the Cambridge police is also important. I don’t see this story as a “distraction” in the sense that it’s meaningless like discussing a celebrity story or reality TV or something.

      To me this is about growing police power over American citizens and I see it as related to the story of Cheney pushing for troops to be used on US soil. We do now have troops garrisoned on US soil, and they are running drills with local police. I find that frightening. But my viewpoint is not a popular one, as I learned yesterday.

      • But my viewpoint is not a popular one, as a learned yesterday.

        I noticed that because I just went through the thread.

        I’ve seen rants that have nothing to do with the issue at hand and refuse to consider it even remotely.

        I’ve seen the “Obama wrongfully accused (make your pick) of being racist although he wasn’t” and “women are also abused” comments, as if that negates any genuine complain about police abuse.

        I actually avoided to go through the worst cases of police brutality against Blacks because I didn’t think it would be helpful, maybe I should have.

    • quixote, you asserted as if fact that what occurred was that the “Cop [felt] insufficient deference”

      That is the whole problem with this incident. While these things may have and continue to occur, there is no evidence that that is a fact in this case — it is an assumption at best.

      One of the great things about our country is that we believe in innocence until proven guilty, not the other way around. Many on this board have condemned the officer without proof.

      • Um, SoD? This part: we believe in innocence until proven guilty.

        ?

        Gates had shown ID, he was in his own home, he was cranky, but the presumption of innocence wouldn’t even rest on pure speculation at that point.

        That’s exactly the part that has me so riled up. Why wasn’t he given the benefit of the (at that point microscopic) doubt? Are there other situations like that? Why, yes, there are. Oddly enough, they follow a pattern. What’s the pattern? And so on.

        I left an interminable rant higher up about false accusations, so I won’t repeat it here. False accusations are no fun. I’m not saying they are. But that fact that Obot trolls used race-baiting isn’t Gates’ fault.

  17. Boy the comments here are depressing.

    It’s amazing how many people still refuse to acknowledge that there’s a serious issue here, much larger issue here than Obama who is a marginal player at best.

    And yes teachable moments can come even from a misunderstanding or a “wrongful” accusation. There is no muster catalog where we are supposed to get teachable moments from.

    For those who think we’ve discussed this for far tong, how many days did we spent on (former) Miss CA?

    • I’m really discouraged too, MABlue. Just know that you’re not alone.

      • Yeah, I’m right there with you guys.

        • I know. Isn’t it interesting that it’s those of us who know what Cambridge is like who are most upset about this and that few others want to hear our thoughts on what we are so familiar with? Dead Girl is another Bostonian who agrees.

          • And Joanie in Brooklyn, but formerly of Boston.

          • I’d feel the same about the principle of the thing if I’d grown up in Ulan Bator, but, for what it’s worth, I grew up in Cambridge (rather a long time ago), on Ware St. no less.

          • Yes, I lived on Ware Street too–in 1967-68.

          • Boomer, I guess I don’t know what people are “disagreeing about.

            No one is saying that there is not a problem with police abuse and/or possible profiling in Boston/Cambridge.

            The disagreement is whether this incident constitutes and example of such.

          • SoD,

            That is what it is about for you. I have said from the beginning that it wasn’t about that for me. Who gets to define what the discussion is about. I wrote the posts and expressed my opinions in them. Commenters chose to redefine the discussion. That’s fine. But now there is a ban on talking about this at TC. I respect that, but I still want to be able to discuss the issue, so I feel a little frustrated. As I said, I can follow it on Twitter. All I wanted to do was support Quixote and MABlue–let them know they’re not alone. I’m done now.

          • SoD,

            Of course you’re not being singled out and I know you’re not a racist! I assume people are responding to your comments because you are the one who is here. That’s all I was doing. I interpreted RD’s comment as a ban on the topic. Maybe I’m wrong. Here is what she said:

            The stories that deserved our attention today were the ones on health care, NJs corruption and how that will affect the governor’s race, etc. Instead, we are talking about a story that we can’t stop talking about because every time we *should* let it go, someone pokes it with their finger like worrying a sty in the eye. It’s painful but it’s a fun pain.
            Let’s not go there anymore. If we want the Gates story to go away and reveal the stories that should get our attention, then we have to be the first people to banish it from out current consciousness. The Confluence has always tried to buck consensus reality, not give in to it. Let’s lead by example.

            Since I continue to be interested in the Gates story, I will follow it and discuss it elsewhere.

          • SOD:
            I missed this comment.

            MaBlue clearly excerpted my comments in his assessment above singling me out for his criticism. Heck, I don’t even know what I’m being criticized for. Am I being called a raci$t? I can’t even tell.

            Why would I call you a racist and blog with you? Why even go there?

            I was giving the general impression I got from reading through the comments. I didn’t read them as they ocurred because I was out.

            I just think you tend to dismiss the whole thing rather easily. This is no longer about who’s right between Gates and Crowley (although the idea that a police officer could arrest you inside your home for “talking trash” is scary). I haven’t accused the cop in question of being a racist, I think he may have overreacted and that is something we are way too familiar with, especially for those who of us grew up in Boston.

          • I don’t think there’s a ban about talking about it. In any event, MaBlue clearly excerpted my comments in his assessment above singling me out for his criticism. Heck, I don’t even know what I’m being criticized for.

            What is it that I’m not getting? Why am I being singled out as somehow insensitive to what I don’t know?

            I get that there are problems in Cambridge. What I don’t get, so I would love some help understanding, is how this incident serves as an example of what is going on. We can’t seem to get there without a factual understanding of the event.

    • I’m continuing to follow it through Twitter. That way you can still interact with people on the subject. Have you joined? You should.

    • If this is not the case, please define what you see as the “area of disagreement.”

      • I have never called the officer a racist and I haven’t seen any other commenter do that. The disagreement is on the relevance of certain issues. One is whether Gates should have been arrested and if that matters. Another is that it is important to see the incident in the light of AA experiences and the history of the Cambridge police around race. There are other more complex issues related to race and authoritarianism in our culture that could be discussed. I would also have like to see a discussion of gender profiling by police and other authority figures and why the focus is always on black men, never women, who are often abused by police.

        I also agree with MABlue that the incident being in the news right now provides an opportunity to discuss these issues–even if they DONT apply to the case in question.

        But Riverdaughter has said not to bring the issue up again. I respect that and will follow the story elsewhere. I apologize for my above responses to Quixote, MABlue and Seriously. I promise never to bring it up again on TC.

        • You don’t understand what I’m trying to say and I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

        • Discussing the matter is important. It’s just that there are too many inferences that have portrayed this officer as “part of the problem” i.e., profiling and abuse.

      • SOD:

        Your first comment on this was baffling to me. What was that rant all about?

        This is not about who was accused of being a racist during the campaign. If we want to play that game, I can tell you that for everyone of your “X was called a racist but he’s not”, I can give you ten (yes 10) cases of Black being seriously abused or viciously and gratuitously killed by the police, including children. Believe you’ll run out of ammunition way before I do.

        • Of course. It’s all about winning. Have at it.

        • I’m allowed to be upset. It’s America and irritation is not reserved for some and not others.

          • Who called him a racist? Maybe the usual crowd even I fight against. I read pretty much all the comments here and I don’t think anyone outright called him a racist, strongly implied it.

            We have linked to tons of stories here, from people we respect and who are very sensitive about the issue, none of them went that far.

            The main problem is that the police has a long and sad track record about the way they deal with black men. That’s why even a “minor” incident like this could get a totally different dynamic.

            Of course. It’s all about winning. Have at it.

            I’m not trying to win anything. The whole discussion is exhausting and it gives me headaches. I’ve purposefully avoided to bring up even some of the most famous cases of police abuse.

      • SOD – I understand what you are trying to say.

        I agree that for every situation that isn’t racial profiling (as in the case of Gates and Crowley, IMO) there are a ton more. But that’s not the point of this entire controversy. Yes, this particular situation allows for us to discuss broader topics of race in America but it seems that the majority of people on this blog feel the same way as Myiq2xu: this particular case was not racial profiling and Obama, with a history of race baiting, did not help the discussion.

        Let’s get this straight: Crowley, despite whatever one might feel about his arrest of Gates, probably did not do it because he hates black people. This was a case of two male egos trying to show each other who’s the boss. And no matter how impracticable it may have been, Crowley had the authority to arrest Gates if he felt that he was being disorderly. We can argue about this judgment call but Crowley, like any other police officer in the nation, can arrest someone they feel is a threat or disorderly to the point that it could escalate into violence or a large scuffle.

        I have had friends and family members male, female, black, white, Latino and Asian who have felt “discriminated” by the police. We all hate it when we’re the one being pulled over on the freeway, or questioned about suspicious behavior, or followed like we were thieves at a department store. Regardless of how angry we’ve felt, we never, ever talk back to the police officer. We calmly explain ourselves, don’t make any quick moves in a vehicle or home, and cooperate in order to end the meeting as quickly as possible. This doesn’t mean that we don’t realize that there have been victims, disproportionately minority victims, of police brutality who were wrongly jailed, beaten, or even murdered. But when someone chooses to scream at a police officer doing his job, you have to scratch your head and wonder if Gates was egging Crowley on to do something bad because being a white officer automatically makes him a racist. This sort of thinking is just as bad as whites who stereotype all blacks as (fill in racist stereotype here).

        But in THIS case, Gates as well as Obama chose to use their positions of power to completely tar this police officer’s reputation on national and international news. It is different from a regular Joe or Jane who would’ve forgotten about the incident, filed a complaint at the police station, or written a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. And I think Crowley has every right to consider suing Gates for defamation.

        Gates chose to make a big deal out of the entire situation and was more than happy to make a personal and local issue into a national story. The entire situation became worse when Obama chose to use the word “stupidly” to describe the actions of the Cambridge police without knowing all of the facts. This is why so many people are angry at Gates and Obama. And yes, if you were a Hillary supporter last year Obama’s comments a few days ago would absolutely bring up memories of people right here at this blog as well as the Clintons and their supporters being tarred on national television and wrongly accused of being racists.

        Obama has a problem with race and it amazes me that a biracial man like himself wouldn’t better understand race in America and when it isn’t acceptable to use the race card to destroy innocent people’s lives. Inviting people over for beer or making someone you called a racist your Secretary of State doesn’t make everything better or make the anger go away. I hope for our nation’s sake that Obama no longer speaks on the issue of race because he is definitely not the person who should be leading the discussion on race relations in America.

        • Thank you. As an HRC supporter everytime Obama talks about race I remember the elections.

  18. Here is the radio audio of the Gates by Gayle King, with detailed step by step of what happened according to Gates, where he says Sgt. Crawley was racial profiling him (according to Gates).
    http://www.oprah.com/media/20090723-radio-gayle-king-henry-louis-gates

    • I’m not understanding some of Prof Gates conclusions and reactions in parts of the interview that’s listed here from the link. I’d like to ask about a few things, give some impressions of my own, as well as describe some things I’m confused about, and maybe get some thoughts on it if anyone cares to try and help me on this, that has listened to the audio.

      It starts with Prof. Gates thinking he should have been greeted more nicely by Crowley in the very first contact after Prof Gates saying ” may I help you?” (which he was very exact about this being right after that) and Crowley saying “would you step outside” or “step outside” and Prof Gates refusing. AFAIK Crowley didn’t know who Prof Gates was, or whose house it was, and it appears to me from the interview Prof Gates thought that Crowley should have not only known who he was, but also have checked to make sure he was ok in that initial contact. This would have been before Prof Gates even said who he was. He stated later in the interview, the reason why he wanted to make the complaint was due to that interaction, (the hair on the back of his neck stood up when it happened). I don’t understand why Crowley should have known who Prof Gates was and what in the interaction seemed unusual to Prof Gates, especially after learning there was a 911 call shortly after that, and knowing he hadn’t identified himself yet when that exchange happened.

      Also a couple of other observations and questions. I’m not sure which way Crowley addressed Prof Gates but it appears to me in the interview Prof Gates described it two different ways.This part could be very important IMO, but it’s only 2 or 4 words and also there is the context of Prof Gates knowing shortly afterwards there’s been a 911 call and that’s why the officer is there. In his 2nd description he mentioned, it seems more like a request (“would you step outside”) the first and third shorter description (“step outside”), considering they’re talking through a plate of glass and Prof Gates has yet to identify himself. (He’s only said “may I help you?” so far) doesn’t seem harsh IMO, so why would Prof Gates continue to take it that way? There isn’t a long time between this happening and Prof Gates becoming aware of the 911 call and is also aware someone has jimmied his lock. He’s only just gotten in a few minutes ago and only gotten to the kitchen and front door, maybe the people the neighbor saw was someone other than him (how would Prof Gates know one way or the other, he’s just found out about the 911 call) so why not have the officer check it out?

      I also don’t understand why Prof Gates feels he didn’t invite the police officer in when he opened the door. When Prof Gates described Crowley coming in it was “just walked in” instead of opened the door and came in, so I have to assume Prof. Gates opened the door and I believe he’s said so in other interviews. This would also be after telling the officer he would not step outside the home. This wouldn’t be a verbal communication to come in but it was during the time he agreed to go and get his ID and he left the door open. If at that point he didn’t want the officer to come in, why didn’t he say please wait here? Or not open the door until he comes back with the ID and just tell the officer that he’ll be going into the kitchen to get it.

      One of the other things I’m not understanding is once in the kitchen and the officer had seen his university ID, Prof Gates appears to be saying he’s determining what the officer is thinking, (I’m not sure how he would do that but I’d be very interested in someone explaining it to me) as well as once the officer starts to say something else Prof Gates says was going to be a question, it appears he didn’t allow the officer to even get a word out before he cut him off. Or at least he didn’t really explain in the interview what that question started to sound like before he cut him off. It appears from the interview Crowley didn’t express much of anything at that point yet so why cut Crowley off? Prof Gates stated at that point what happened on the front porch changed everything. I don’t see why Crowley asking another question, (which may have well been, are you sure the home is secure now and that no one is here that shouldn’t be, or I’m sure any number of other innocent questions but we don’t know because he was never allowed to ask), would be a reason to report Crowley, though Prof Gates was very clear it was the interaction on the front porch that he was complaining about, not whatever question Crowley was about to ask? This seems very odd, and I’m having trouble getting my brain around it.

      It’s kind of late here so if my questions or observations are not clear, I will be happy to elaborate if needed. I appreciate any help anyone would like to offer. Thanks
      take care.

  19. Obama should have simply said:

    “I don’t have all the facts. I know Prof.Gates and he’s a good friend and I am not going to comment further on this matter. Next question”

    Instead, he showed his immense IMMATURITY, awkwardness and lack of judgment in a matter about which he is the author of countless narratives begging for conciliation, peace and healing.

    Obama has no excuse for his lapse in judgment and stirring a hornet’s nest, especially when he is leading the most important discussion of his tenure: Health Care reform.

    (P.S. I hate to think that this man is in a position to reset the red button!)

  20. Obama should have reserved judgment and not express an opinion when he admitted Himself he did not have all the facts! His immaturity was inexcusable on this.

    Does he not know police are supposed to ask questions and that the suspect may be returning to his own home to murder a spouse? Domestic abuse involves one-third of the women being murdered by an intimate partner who gains entry into the home–sometimes with his own keys and ID that he is resident. He may be listed as resident but he may be going there for unlawful purpose.

    Obama should think before he says anything “stupidly”. He is no longer a Community Organizer with a chip on shoulder as big as Rezko’s retirement home development….
    He is after all the Healer and Peacemaker…

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